It has been awhile since severe winter driving conditions hit the state and the Iowa Department of Transportation is asking drivers to take that into account. D-O-T Winter Operations manager Dennis Burkheimer says the storm forecasted for tonight (Wednesday) and into tomorrow could pose some tough challenges. He says they anticipate seeing strong gusty winds of 30 miles-an-hour or more, and coupled with projections of several inches of snow, that could lead to a lot of blowing and drifting snow.
The D-O-T often puts chemicals on the roadways in advance of a storm, and Burkheimer says the wind will play into how they apply those chemicals. Burkheimer says it makes a difference their application rates. He says sometimes the best thing is to do nothing, as the snow will blow right across the road, but if they put down chemicals, that could make the snow stick. Burkheimer says the crews are experienced in how to handle all types of weather.
The temperatures are expected to drop too — which Burkheimer says also figures into the equation. He says the colder temperatures make the de-icing chemicals work a little slower then normal, and it could take longer for crews to remove the snow and ice.
Burkheimer says travelers need to go back to the basic winter driving safety rules. Burkheimer says you should stay tuned to the radio and TV forecasts to know what the road conditions are like. He says you should notify someone of where you’re going and your expected arrival time so they know where you are at.
D-O-T crews haven’t had to do much snow or ice removal recently — but Burkheimer says they’re ready. He says they had a good couple of weeks with lots of work in December, but says January was slow and they were able to replenish supplies and are ready for the rest of the winter now. You can dial 5-1-1 or log on to 511ia.org to get road and weather information before heading out.